|Chap 2.7 - Brick 3||frangles 13/: Writer's Bricks |
Starbooks cashier frowned as she glanced at the psychotic novelist in
the corner who'd taken a seat, failed to order, and begun talking to a
lifeless padlock he'd placed on the table. He hadn't been there a
minute and already she was standing close to the phone ready to call
911 if he tried to molest or murder any of the customers with it.
She got the surreal feeling that if the padlock had actually been
sentient in any way that it probably would have thought it just as odd
as she did that it was being talked to by a psychotic novelist.
"Do you ever get the feeling it just never ends?"
The lock said nothing
because it could not talk. But, if it did, it probably would have
rhetorically commented on the ironic uselessness of asking an inanimate
object how it feels when it fails to achieve its main objective, since
the lock's current objective was to make sure Skip finished the first
chapter of his novel no matter what the cost. Skip took this
rhetorical silence as an equally valuable substitute response.
" 'Chapter One: Bending the Rules of the Writer's Pad Lock: The Chapter
That Should Have Ended 3 Hours Ago But Didn't Because My Own Writer Is
Too !@#$ing Chicken to Wrap my Story Up or Kill Me Off.' "
A dozen crumpled-up pages lay on the coffee table between Skip
and the nearest person who was annoyed with him, and another dozen lay
rolled onto the ground. The bookstaffian who had long since
tagged their cleanup onto his job description for the day sighed and
tossed them all into the trash can for the sixth time in the past hour.
"Too wordy." Crumple. Toss. " 'Chapter One: The
Padlock Who Was Eventually Thrown Into The Fires Of Mordor For Its
Cruel Oppression of the People.' " The lock didn't budge, or even
wiggle, as it had resolved over an hour ago to tolerate Skip's
insults whose sheer numbers over the past few hours alone were starting
to push themselves into being cliche above and beyond monotonous.
Skip's anger toward the lock had continually magnified when for the
first time in his life, he'd somehow manage to brainstorm a fantastic
book structure, but was defeated in not being able to write a bit of it
down, because none of it had had anything to do with Chapter One.
3 times since he'd met the lock, a series of characters and
settings and themes had lined up in his mind in crystal clarity.
All he would have had to do is write like mad and scribble the entire
mess out, and he would have had several entire plot outlines to guide
his writing by now. Instead, the moment he put his pen to paper
with the slightest intention of brainstorming or outlining, he was
given the strongest jolt of psychoelectric static the pad lock was
capable of forcing him to hallucinate given the 15 expressos in
his system. The shocks had taken a toll on his sanity, and were
now pushing him into a deeper psychosis than that of talking to a
lifeless lock. It was a fantastic state for his writing, but not
so fantastic for eluding the padlock's monarchy, which used this
well-won instability to enforce its unwritten writing law upon him even
Ironically -- or perhaps appropriately -- the mental shocks he was
getting from the thing had the added effect of completely purging the
outline visions from his mind whenever he came up with one. The
pain seemed to outlast the inspirations, and the ensuing headache left
them a faint memory. This was probably Mr. Lock's plan all along,
since the only thing Skip had left to do after that was write out
"Chapter One" again and stare at the page some more (The pad lock had
finally allowed Skip to do this the moment he actually intended to turn
the page for this purpose sans any deceptive intentions. In the
past few hours since meeting Skip, the lock had achieved the equivalent
of a bachelor's in writer's psychology, and its dominant rule over
chapter generation was no less unestablished. It almost seemed as
if he'd developed outright telepathy).
"Nope." Skip crumpled up the paper and--to be
considerate--whipped it directly at his dedicated garbage man who'd
resolved to spend the rest of the night sitting in another chair and
waiting for Skip's crumpled pages to be thrown.
Finally, after a great passage of time, Skip began to have ideas for
his chapter but the exact same piss-annoying problems. The
expressos had molded his brain into a wild whirlwind of fleeting
possibilities, each a distracted leaf that floated entertained for just
a few moments before giving up and whimming itself another way.
The frustration became unbearable. Leaf after leaf would hover
then flee, hover then flee. It was not the leaves at fault, but
the windy writer's storm, which showed no sign of relenting. Skip
had only one choice. He snatched the triple black-eyed French
roast death frappuccino--a dark hell roast coffee with nine shots of
quadruple expresso--and held it outward toward the garbage employee
without looking up from his notebook. It was taken from his hand,
and in a perfect moment of clarity as the stimulant buzz was beginning
to wear off, Skip had the best vifa idea he'd ever had in his
relatively short life as a Flutonian friter. Before he'd even
spoken it aloud, the notepad lock--out of a now thoroughly developed
and honed intuition of Skip's moods--sensed something was up, and was
already at full attention once again.
"I shall write the story of my life!" Skip figured he could
fictionalize everything that had happened to him since his first memory
that morning, and it wouldn't be very hard work at all, nor would he
fail to know where to go with the story. Since it wasn't very
long ago (by Flutonian standards anyway), it might not have been enough
to fill up a whole book (never mind a thrilling page turner), but if
staring at blank pages for hours on end wasn't enough to teach you
about drawing things out infinitely longer than they needed to be, what
Now the writer's pad lock seemed worried. Very worried.
Its first thought was to enforce its usual will-dominance and use some
sort of psychic shock to knock Skip unconscious, but then it dawned on
itself that Skip might have begun on an endeavor falling entirely
within the rules, however offensive to the general art of creative
writing. Indeed, it seemed totally normal for someone to write a
story based on true events, especially since writing seemed to be
something that stemmed from a writer's own heart and soul and
experiences. And Skip of course really hadn't lived much at all
since he'd popped into existence at 1:11 that morning, which was
probably part of the cause of Skip's abysmal writer's block in the
Therefore, what objection could there possibly be to Skip's intentions
for a plot as long as he didn't plagiarize the day word for word?
The pad lock nodded as it concluded that that, then, was probably the
very thing Skip was most likely to do. Hence it had an important
job to prevent the intended fiction from turning into a blatant
Although, at the opposite pole, the lock considered, Skip putting it on
guard for word for word plagiarism might be a ploy to go entirely off
topic without getting caught. This, then, was the other thing the
lock decided its job would be to look out for. Of course, there
was the additional concern that the duality created some other unseen
danger the lock couldn't figure out or plan to guard against, so this,
too, was something to look out for.
In this gray and poorly defined approach to the medium of prose prone
to loopholes and lax objectivity, the lock had its toughest job
yet. It tightened its loopy locked jaw and steeled itself with a
firm resolve to do its absolute best, to the full extent that a
placebo-esque inanimate object was capable of doing anything.
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